Cattle marts: Numbers down and quality main driver of price

The weather we are experiencing at the moment is taking its toll on cattle marts across the country. This – coupled with a seasonal dip – has resulted in small sales taking place across the country.

Kilkenny Mart auctioneer George Candler highlighted the fact that he witnessed one of the smallest cattle sales in years with a little over 200 on offer at Cillin Hill, on Thursday last.

Again, it’s the quality of the stock that is driving prices. Good-quality forward stock are proving popular among customers, while the weanling trade is buoyed by exporter demand.

Plainer stock – especially stock with strong dairy influence – are proving to be the most difficult trade.

Ennis Mart

Numbers were reported to be down on Thursday compared to the previous week’s sale in the cow and heifer rings at Ennis Mart. However, bullock numbers were reported to be holding.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 357kg – €1,000 or €2.80/kg;
  • Limousin: 437kg – €1,180 or €2.69/kg;
  • Charolais: 550kg – €1,345 or €2.45/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 655kg – €1,310 or €2.00/kg.

A number of aged bulls passed through the ring on Thursday. A top price of €1,700 was achieved by a Limousin bull weighing 955kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Limousin: 340kg – €830 or €2.44/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 470kg – €900 or €1.92/kg;
  • Charolais: 460kg – €1,020 or €2.21/kg;
  • Hereford: 400kg – €800 or €2.00/kg.

The mart’s spokesperson said: “Average grade forward bullocks were easier, especially these that will not finish under 30 months.

“The younger store bullock held the trade very well. We had a smaller entry of feeder cows and beef cows met a steady demand, with trade similar to previous weeks.”

Sample dry cow prices:
  • Limousin: 520kg – €900 or €1.73/kg;
  • Charolais: 550kg – €1,070 or €1.94/kg;
  • Limousin: 670kg – €1,120 or €1.67/kg;
  • Friesian: 670kg – €1,040 or €1.55/kg.

Carnew Mart

Some 550 cattle and 80 calves went under the hammer in Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow, on Saturday last (July 14).

Weanling bulls were reported to be popular among exporters and quality Belgian Blue types made in the region of €3.30/kg; farmers in the market for weanling bulls paid €500-700 over.

Beef and forward bullocks traded for €650-920 over, while continental store bullocks made €450-740 over; Friesian steers sold for €150-450 along with their weight.

Moving to heifers, stores made €300-710 over and beef lots traded for €540-820 along with their weight.

Beef cows fetched €450-760 over, while continental store cows made €150-350 over and Friesian stores sold for €100-200 over.

Sample calf prices:
  • Continental bulls: €255-305;
  • Continental heifers: €160-290;
  • Friesian bulls: €90-140.

Raphoe Mart

The trade was reported to be “holding steady for most cattle” in Raphoe Mart, Co. Donegal, according to the mart’s Anne Harkin.

“The trade was steady for quality heifers and young bulls; plainer types were back in price and more difficult to sell,” she said.

Top-class bulls, weighing over 600kg, sold at €600-630 over, the mart manager stated. Beef bullocks made €600-630 over.

Beef heifers made €500-625 over and store heifers traded for €350-625. In addition, fat, well-fleshed cows traded for €560-1,390/head.

Kilkenny Mart

Another small sale was witnessed at Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill, on Thursday last; prices were reported to be similar to the previous week’s sale.

Kilkenny Mart auctioneer George Candler said: “All numbers of cattle coming out to sales here in the south-east seem to have completely dried up.

“We had one of the smallest cattle sales in years with a little over 200 on offer. Perhaps due to the reduced numbers, prices for forward store bullocks and heifers have steadied with a few more customers active.

“The limited number of beef bullocks and heifers are a bit easier to sell. The comparative sale last year attracted over 600 cattle which would suggest there are still a lot of animals in the system waiting for an improvement (grass growth) in the weather before they are offered for sale,” he explained.

Beef bullocks (500-600kg) made €1.60-2.65/kg and €1.50-2.46/kg was paid for the forward store lots.

Sample bullock prices:
  • Charolais: 675kg – €1,400 or €2.07/kg;
  • Charolais: 555kg – €1,255 or €2.26/kg;
  • Friesian: 615kg – €1,160 or €1.89/kg;
  • Charolais: 498kg – €1,130 or €2.27/kg.

In the heifer ring, Candler said that beef and forward store lots sold for €1.90-2.46/kg.

Sample heifer prices:
  • Charolais: 600kg – €1,280 or €2.13/kg;
  • Hereford: 55kg – €1,110 or €2.00/kg;
  • Aubrac: 590kg – €1,130 or €1.92/kg;
  • Limousin: 480kg – €1,020 or €2.12/kg.

Moving to the cull cow trade, continental lots sold for €0.70-1.40/kg, while the Friesian lots on offer made €1.30-1.95/kg.

Castlerea Mart

The trade was reported to be “firm” at Castlerea Mart, Co. Roscommon, on Thursday (July 8). According to the mart’s Brendan Egan, there was a good trade for top-quality heifers and bullocks.

Sample heifer and steer prices:
  • Charolais heifer: 420kg – €1,065 or €2.53/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 405kg – €1,100 or €2.71/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 570kg – €1,395 or €2.44/kg;
  • Charolais bullock: 575kg – €1,470 or €2.55/kg;
  • Limousin bullock: 500kg – €1,200 or €2.40/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus bullock: 650kg – €1,450 or €2.23/kg.

In the weanling ring, prices were reported to be holding, but plainer, lighter animals were harder to sell. In addition, breeding stock, cows, calves and runners all recorded good clearances.

Sample weanling prices:
  • Charolais heifer: 250kg – €700 or €2.80/kg;
  • Limousin heifer: 320kg – €1,085 or €3.39/kg;
  • Charolais bull: 230kg – €785 or €3.41/kg;
  • Limousin bull: 370kg – €780 or €2.10/kg.

Furthermore, cows with calves at foot made €980-2,300.

Sample dry cow prices:
  • Charolais: 815kg – €1,685 or €2.06/kg;
  • Limousin: 680kg – €1,495 or €2.19/kg;
  • Charolais: 690kg – €1,375 or €1.99/kg;
  • Aberdeen Angus: 730kg – €1,435 or €1.96/kg.

In the calf ring, young calves traded for €120-350/head, while stronger runners made from €350/head to €575/head.